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Common Reasons Insurance Companies Use to Deny A Roof Claim

Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive home repairs a home can require. On the low end, for a smaller home, it can cost between $5000 and $7500 to replace a shingle roof, and if it is a tile roof the cost can very easily exceed $25,000 due to the dramatically higher cost of the materials and installation. This number can grow even larger for homes that are especially large, have a large number of sections, or have an especially unique shape or steep slope. And for commercial properties, the cost of replacing a roof can be eye-watering.

Why your roof claim may not be covered by insurance

Because the costs of replacing a roof are guaranteed to be high, it sometimes happens that insurers will look for any reason to deny your claim, grasping at any straw they can and turning it into a cause to deny the claim. While we have seen insurance companies use a variety of  strategies involving a litany of mitigating factors, there are a few which are the “go-to” denial reasons for insurers. These include:

  • Age of the Roof
    • Insurance companies often will try to deny claims based on the roof being “too old” and will not cover the damage for this reason. Often, this tactic is employed when the roof in question is over 20 years old, especially with a shingle roof which may only be designed to last 25 years. Sometimes a claim will be denied if the underlying lower layers below the shingles or tiles is old, even if the shingles or tiles are more recent. 
  • Damage is the fault of homeowner
    • This one is a tried and true classic. Often times damage attributed to the homeowner comes in the form of “wear and tear,” whereby the insurer blames the damage upon normal processes of an aging roof or improper maintenance as the primary cause of damage. So if a roofing tile gets blown off your roof, and you do not repair it, they will say that any damage to the roof in that area was caused by normal wear and tear and not included under the policy.
  • Expensive roofing material
    • While a tile roof is more costly than a shingle roof, there are roofing materials out there which are even more expensive.Wood shake shingles, slate shingles, and metal roofs can cost much more than other roofing materials. If you have a roof made with one of these materials, it’s possible that your claim will be denied because of the anticipated high cost of repairs. If there is damage, they may try to say the damage is only cosmetic and does not require repairs.
  • The cause of damage is excluded
    • Depending on the policy, there may be several causes of damage which are expressly prohibited under your policy and which will not be covered by the policy. While there is no single standard for what is covered and what is not, the following list has most of the common causes of damage which the majority of homeowners policies cover. Some examples would be:
      • Fire and smoke
      • Lightning
      • Explosion
      • Volcanic eruption 
      • Electrical surge
      • Damage from a vehicle or aircraft
      • Crimes (theft, vandalism, etc.)
      • Falling objects, like a tree branch
      • Burst or overflowing pipes
      • Some water damage (excluding flooding)
      • Wind
      • Hail

While these are the most common reasons that an insurer will deny a claim, these 4 are by no means an exhaustive list. If you or someone you know has had their claim for damages denied for any reason, contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.

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